Last week I mentioned receiving the second round of edits. During the past few days I have been able to respond to the 40 or so questions editor Tracey Matthews sent over. Some of those questions were straight forward: “See the question on page 162—there he is called “Loathsome Les”— make consistent?” Some were more challenging.
One of the most challenging wasn’t from Tracey’s question, but at the acknowledgement section she asked, “Most, but not all, of the names are in alphabetical order—do you want to reorder the names so they appear in alphabetical order, or do you prefer to keep the names as listed here?” This caused me to look at the entire paragraph again. And again. And again.
I had listed several people from my writing group. I couldn’t list them all as there are seventy members officially in my group. I didn’t want to skip writing individual names, because there is a core group of people who were there from the beginning of my first efforts to this outcome. But somehow, I am struggling with this. Think Academy Awards, where actors, directors, writers and the like are kept on a strict time limit. They reel through their lists of acknowledgements like auctioneers, and still manage to forget a few names along the way.
But saying thank you is both personal and important. I did what I always do when I’m stuck–hello Google. Did you know there are a ton of responses to the search term “writing acknowledgements for a book?” Over three million. Amazing. Yes, saying thank you is important.
So here’s my question: How do you acknowledge a group and point out specific individuals within it for special thanks? You don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but at the same time, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to acknowledge those people who have had a deeper impact on your work.
I did almost nothing for Joan Johnston once. Lent her a book, and chatted for a few moments about growing up in Bloomfield Hills (yes, Mitt Romney’s Bloomfield Hills). I hoped it helped.
Then, one day I was playing “Google Yourself” on the Internet and I saw my name linked with Joan’s. I think I may have started crying when I saw that I was in her acknowledgments of “Outcast.” I ran to my kindle and bought the book right away. I showed that acknowledgment like the valued treasure it was to family and friends. I’ve talked about it over and over, yet still, it gives me a thrill. The acknowledgement was my personal brush with fame. Yes, thank you is very important.
Here’s what I think I’ll do. I think I’ll set off a paragraph to say thanks to my writing group as a whole. Then, I’m going to acknowledge (in alphabetical order), those people who have been there from the beginning (pre-2007), and with whom I’ve chatted over and over again. They have been tremendous help.
For those who didn’t get acknowledgements this time, I hope they will understand that there is “always the next book.”
What do you think? How do you acknowledge people for the friendship and time they offer you? How important are acknowledgements? Do you read them?
I’m off to the Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference now. I’ll look forward to chatting with you when I get back. Have a great weekend.